I’ve spent the last couple of months gradually stripping parts off the Herald before either discarding or cleaning, painting and generally refurbishing them in preparation for the great day when I start reassembing the car. It’s a bit of a mixed bag; some parts have come out literaly as good as new, whilst others have needed a fair amount of attention to bring them up to a good enough standard – and a few have gone straight in the bin. At the end of the day I’m not aiming to produce a show car, but it would be a shame to drop the standard of the rebuild for the want of spending a few pennies as I go.
Along the way I’ve found one or two ‘nasties’ where the tin worm has eaten its way through the bodywork. At the moment things don’t look too bad, but its difficult to be sure about the state of some of the panels, especially the floor, until I’ve had them bead or soda blasted. One thing I’ve been surprised about is the amount of mud that was clinging to the bottom of the car – the chassis rails were full of the stuff, to the extent that it looked as though the car had been driven through fields before it was taken off the road. The fact that the underside of the car was coated in this stuff for at least three decades makes me wonder that rust didn’t consume the entire car long ago!
The arrival of family manpower home for Christmas provided the opportunity to lift the body off the chassis, so with the help of Dave Hardy (a fellow Gloucester TSSC member) we spent an interesting 15 minutes yesterday morning ‘getting her top off’. All went smoothly with the exception of one retaining bolt which refused to budge until it succumbed to the attentions of the angle grinder.
Once the chassis was exposed it became clear that fairly major repairs have been been carried out previously – the two side rails and three of the riggers have been replaced at some time in the past, though without welds on the upper edges of the rails – which indicates that the work was done without removing the body and therefore resulted in a substantially weaker repair. Of the five remaining riggers the two front ones seem to be OK but the remaining three are dangerously thin and will have to be replaced along with the two side rails. My plan is to do so before sending the chassis off for blasting to reduce the risk of distortion and problems when it comes to replacing the body.
The body itself is now sat on the drive waiting for me to get the chassis and running gear sorted. The first job will be to remove the engine, gearbox, differential, suspension and brakes in preparation for getting the chassis welded and blasted. Not much to do really!